How To Identify And Get Rid Of A Termite Infestation In Your Western Massachusetts Home

How To Identify And Get Rid Of A Termite Infestation In Your Western Massachusetts Home

Identity is everything. How do you know what you are seeing so you can fix a problem if you cannot identify which tools you need? How do you know which spices to use for a recipe if none of the canisters have labels? How can paramedics identify an unconscious person if they do not carry any identification? When you can't determine the identity of something, you don't know what to do.

We know that most people are not pest control experts and do not know how to identify signs of a termite infestation. Since you probably found this article because you suspect a termite problem in your Western Massachusetts home, this article from American Pest Solutions provides pertinent information you need to make an educated diagnosis.

American Pest Solutions is the oldest family-owned pest control company in Western Massachusetts. Since 1919 we have been removing termites from homes and protecting homeowners from the ravaging effects of these tiny, wood-eating insects. Due to our six decades in the pest control industry, we have the experience, knowledge, and tools that few companies in the United States have. Please keep reading to learn how to identify whether or not termites are the source of your problem.

How To Identify Signs Of Termites

To identify whether or not you have a termite problem, you need to know the following signs:

  • Mud tubes
  • Frass
  • Swarmers
  • Wings
  • Holes
  • Blisters and bubbles
  • Termites

By unpacking each termite indicator, we can identify the types of termites in Western Massachusetts in your home.  

Mud tubes are a sign of subterranean termites in Western Massachusetts. As their name suggests, these termites live under the earth and not in the wood. Because they require a high moisture level, they cannot withstand long sun exposure, so they create mud tubes for movement from the soil to the food source. 

The other termite species infesting Western Massachusetts homes are the drywood termite, and along with subterranean termites, they create feces, known as frass. This mixture of digested cellulose appears as sawdust-like material about 1/16 of an inch long outside the holes the termites bore in wood. These tiny openings are often the only visible sign of a drywood termite infestation until more severe issues develop since they live in the wood and do not travel between the wood and the soil. 

Termite colonies have a caste system of workers, soldiers, and reproductive termites. The soldiers protect the nest openings from ants and other predators, the workers forage for food and expand the nest, and the reproductives produce offspring and begin satellite colonies. Initially, the queen and king are the sole reproductives, but as the group size increases, the queen delivers winged reproductives known as alates or swarmers. In the spring or fall, the flying, white termites leave the nest to begin new colonies. Termites may be in your home or property if you notice flying insects around outdoor lights or windows at dusk or dawn.

When a flying reproductive termite pair finds a suitable nesting location, they mate, discard their wings, and burrow into the soil (subterranean termites) or a wood crack (drywood termites). Reproductive termites have four white wings of equal length extending beyond their bodies. Discarded wings in window sills and throughout the home are more signs of termites in your Western Massachusetts home.

Unlike carpenter ants that only bore holes in wood, termites eat wood. Subterranean termites infest damp wood, often underneath the floor in the crawl space or basement, but drywood termites get their moisture needs from the timber and humid air. As a result, drywood termites eat wood inside walls, the attic, and furniture. Because they eat wood right up to the outside and leave only a thin layer, moisture from their bodies often causes wallpaper and drywall to blister.

We've looked at various indicators, but what does an actual termite look like? All termite species are insects with six jointed legs, two straight antennae, and a three-part body consisting of a head, thorax, and abdomen. Subterranean termite workers (the only ones you will see above ground) have a 1/8 inch creamy white to dark brown body. If you see a drywood termite, which is unlikely since they never leave the wood, they have a 3/8 to one-inch body with similar coloration. 

Both termite types are most visible when swarming; however, carpenter ants also swarm. You can distinguish between the two different insects by body shape. Carpenter ants have a narrow waist, short yellowish forewings, and longer hind wings. Swarming termites do not have a pinched waist, and the wings are the same length. 

Whether you need drywood or subterranean termite treatment in Western Massachusetts, American Pest Solutions is the solution to your problem. We have the tools to eliminate both termite types in Western Massachusetts homes.

Termites Can Undermine The Structural Integrity Of Your Home

Termites eat wood from the inside out and weaken the lumber. Underneath a house, subterranean termites infest fungus-ridden damp support beams, subflooring, and girders. A small, mature in-ground termite nest has about 60,000 members, while a large colony consists of two to three million workers daily consuming wood in your home. Since a nest of 60,000 workers destroys about 2.3 feet of a 2x4 annually, one can only imagine the damage caused by a nest of millions. As the number of termites and nests increases, the damage becomes apparent in the form of sagging floor corners, warping window and door frames, and collapsing structures. 

A mature drywood termite nest consists of about 2,500 workers, so the damage takes longer to manifest. These termites are more likely to damage attic trusses, joists, and rafters and cause the ceiling to sag. They may also cause wood frames to warp and wood furniture to break under pressure. 

American Pest Solutions offers termite protection in Western Massachusetts to keep these insects from destroying your home. We bring decades of termite control experience and knowledge to end a termite infestation in your house. 

Identify And Remove Factors That Attract Termites

Once we remove termites from your property, you do not want to battle another infestation. To stop a future termite invasion, do the following:

  • Remove decaying wood from the yard.
  • Replace rotting fence posts and landscaping timbers with vinyl products or pressure-treated lumber.
  • Wrap wood in contact with the soil with a termite-proof product.
  • Paint and seal outdoor wood.
  • Eliminate standing water or poor drainage around fences, landscaping, decks, and porches.
  • Provide proper ventilation underneath the house and in the attic.
  • Elevate firewood piles and relocate them 20 feet from the structure.
  • Seal openings in the foundation and along the roofline.
  • Repair window and door screens.
  • Fix leaking pipes, drains, and fixtures.
  • Fix gutter leaks to avoid rotting soffits.

Damp, fungus-infested wood attracts flying reproductive subterranean termites, so maintaining a clean, dry property will deter them from attempting to create nests on your property. Providing ventilation in the attic and basement, thereby reducing humidity, will discourage both termite types from infesting your house. 

When a service technician from American Pest Solutions arrives at your home to provide termite control, we can identify other contributing factors specific to your home and property. 

The Best Way To Get Rid Of A Termite Infestation

Solving a termite problem is not a do-it-yourself project. Termites often infest hard-to-reach locations that a store-bought termiticide cannot reach or penetrate. Also, DIY products can be dangerous to apply and can cause harm to pets and children. We train our service technicians so your family remains safe while we eliminate the termite problem. There is no one-size-fits-all method for termite elimination. You cannot remove subterranean termites with the same tools as drywood termites.

To stop a drywood termite infestation, we tent the entire structure and fumigate the home. This method allows the treatment to penetrate the wood in the house so the termites cannot escape. We offer heat treatments and other techniques where fumigation is not an option for the homeowner or where the infestation is localized. 

Ending a subterranean termite problem requires a different approach since they live in the soil. Our service technicians are certified to use Termidor┬« HE to stop subterranean termites. To attack subterranean termites, we create a trench around the house, fill it with Termidor┬« HE liquid bait solution, and then refill the channel so children and pets cannot detect or access the product. As worker termites travel through the soil to the wood in the house, the product attaches to their body which they inadvertently carry back to the nest. Developing termites must shed (molt) their external skeleton (exoskeleton) to grow. The product prevents molting and causes the developing termites to suffocate. Over time, the nest dies from the youngest to the oldest. 

Protect your home and family from the havoc termites cause by partnering with American Pest Solutions. Companies do not stay in business for over sixty years unless they are good at what they do, and we are no exception. Our local, family-owned company has been servicing Western Massachusetts since 1919. We have the tools, training, and experience to solve your termite problem. Our extraordinarily friendly, professional, and competitively priced services will impress you. Contact us today to get a free estimate.

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Why Choose American Pest Solutions?

We're Not Just Exterminators, We're Pest-Exterminating Experts!
  • We're Responsible
    All of our employees undergo stringent background checks, including drug screening. Our field representatives are committed to providing exceptional service, while our office staff, praised by customers for their expertise, diligently assists with inquiries regarding services, products, scheduling, and payment options.
  • We've got the solutions
    Our company President, Bob Russell, is a Board Certified Entomologist, and a member of the Entomological Society of America, distinguishing us from others in our field. Should you encounter an unidentified pest, simply photograph it, email us the picture with details of its discovery, and we'll promptly provide a confirmed identification and expert treatment recommendations.
  • We're licensed & certified.
    American Pest Solutions, recognized by the NPMA as a QualityPro certified company, boasts licensed and certified pest control professionals in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Engaged in both regional and national pest management associations, our employees undergo annual recertification training and seminars, supplemented by regular classes conducted by our resident Entomologist at our facility.

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At American Pest Solutions, your satisfaction is our priority! See for yourself what our customers have to say about working with us.

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    I just had an overrun of mouse population in almost every room of my house! After the first visit, that dropped almost completely!
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    They were thorough in addressing the cracks and entry points where any mice might come in. They were knowledgeable and took pride in their profession. Thank you.
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    Dean is the best. He always makes sure to ask if I would like the interior traps checked and indulges me with great information when I ask many questions. I am very thankful to have him as my technician.
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